News Release

New meeting house for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is dedicated in Saipan

Saipan Chapel dedication 2023
Saipan Chapel dedication 2023
© 2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.

On the island of Saipan, stands a beautiful new meeting house.  It sets up high on a lush green hill as an invitation for all to come.  The older meeting house was over 40 years old and built on leased property.  It had been through several typhoons, but it was a beloved building.  Some of the members said that they will miss the beautiful old mango tree that stood tall in the middle of the courtyard.  Unfortunately, the lease expired on the building and was not renewed.  The new meeting house is 8400 square feet in size, making it considerably larger than the building it replaces. 

A celebration of the new building began on July 7, 2023, with an open house and a cultural event.  Young missionaries serving on Saipan welcomed people that came and gave them tours of the new church.  Pamphlets about the Church and copies of The Proclamation to the Family and The Living Christ documents were available to all who came.  The Family Search senior missionaries, Elder and Sister Rawlings, had the family history room set up ready for anyone wanting to do research on their family lines.  A few visitors took the time to get on the computers and to check out Family Search.  They seemed excited to learn more about their ancestry.      

After the tour, everyone was privileged to enjoy singing and dancing in the cultural hall.   The Barong children, Eve and Omner, sang while playing the ukelele and their father joined them on the guitar.  The young men and young women of the ward shared their dancing talents with traditional dance numbers.  Several Relief Society sisters performed a beautiful dance number as well.  Toward the conclusion of one of the youth dances, the audience was invited to join them. Men, women, and children of all ages could be found on the dance floor laughing and enjoying music together! The Relief Society sisters provided refreshments for all to enjoy at the closing of the open house.  Joy and laughter filled the room of the cultural hall in the celebration of this exciting event.

Saipan chapel Dedication 2023
Saipan chapel Dedication 2023
Youth from the Saipan Ward perform a song for the cultural event© 2023 by Intellectual Reserve, Inc. All rights reserved.


On Sunday, July 9, 2023, following a sacrament service, Relief Society and Priesthood meetings, the dedication of the new meeting house took place. 

The Bishop of the Saipan Ward, Valrick Welch talked about the purpose of the building and said that it's not only a place to worship, but also a place to serve others.  He said, “Within the walls of the church building, we find the sacred space where we can meet as saints, serve, and love one another. It is more than a physical structure.  It is a gift from our Heavenly Father that enables us to have scripture study and spiritual abundance. It’s a place where the spiritual and intellectual can be met.”

President Fredivic Nicerio, stake president of the Barrigada Stake said that the new chapel is a representation of the love of our Father in Heaven where He wants us to be happy.  “This is a sacred edifice and a place for refuge from the worldly cares of the world.  A place to allow the Savior, Jesus Christ, to touch our hearts.  It is a place to renew and make sacred covenants.  This should be a welcoming place for everyone.” He also talked about how everyone needs to participate in keeping it clean.  He hopes that we’ll be able to treat this building with respect and reverence.

Elder William H.K. Davis, area seventy, shared the parable of the pearl and the box.  A certain man found a large and beautiful pearl.  He placed it in a carved and ornate box lined with blue velvet cloth for all to see and enjoy.  Unfortunately, the people only saw the beautiful box and most missed the pearl itself.  Elder Davis said: “Sometimes we are that way.  We focus on the beauty of the building and fail to see the pearl inside ‘the box’ or the building.  The faith, unity, edification, the love of God, the spiritual strength, and individual growth felt through the Holy Spirit is the pearl of great price.  The opportunity to serve is also a pearl of great price."  Following his talk, he dedicated the building to The Lord.  In the dedicatory prayer, he said: “May all who come here find peace and safety from the world, find joy in the gospel of Jesus Christ, feel the influence of the Holy Ghost, and Thy Spirit, and feel of Thy love and acceptance through fellowshipping and ministering one to another, and are strengthened by each other’s testimonies of Jesus Christ and His restored gospel.”  He prayed for the building to be protected from the storms and natural disasters and a blessing to be upon all those who serve in this meeting house. He blessed the youth to feel the Spirit and have their testimonies strengthened. “May the presence of this building bless this island and inspire all to advance the cause of personal and religious freedom.”    

Several musical numbers were performed and interspersed throughout the meeting.  A trio comprised of 2 relief society sisters and 1 young woman sang a beautiful rendition of “I Know that My Redeemer Lives”. The primary children enthusiastically sang the song, “I Hope They Call Me on A Mission” bringing smiles to everyone and was accompanied by a young primary aged girl.  The Saipan Ward choir sang the hymn “More Holiness Give Me” filling the chapel with a sweet spirit. 

A luncheon was held in the cultural hall following the dedication.  The serving tables were full of a variety of all kinds of delicious island food and yummy desserts provided by the relief society sisters. 

One of the visitors who attended said, “The building is pretty awesome!  I find the Church interesting and a good place to acknowledge the word of God.”

Christine Barong thought the dedication was good.  She said that she really enjoyed the open house.  “It was very fun, and I loved the songs and dances.  I’m glad that visitors can come every Friday for sports night.  Everyone considers it a beautiful place.”

Jenny Cook commented that she appreciated when President Nicerio talked about everyone taking care of the building and participating in helping it to stay clean and beautiful.  She was excited to do her part in taking care of it.  

Joel and Lisa Phair both felt like the new building is a blessing in Saipan, not just for the members, but for the community as well. 

Sister Emma Kershaw and Sister Leah Groberg, missionaries for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, loved how the community came together to support the new meeting house.  It’s a welcoming place for everyone to gather and to feel the spirit. 

Elder Fitch and his companion said they could feel the spirit very strongly in the dedication.  They were grateful that some of their investigators came and could also feel the spirit.  They were able to recognize the feeling of peace when they came into the church.  “It was a good experience.”

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